Monday, January 11, 2010

  • Student technology event this weekend
  • UW research executive takes Ontario job
  • Jumping from one topic to another
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Student technology event this weekend

“The best student technology conference ever” is coming to Waterloo this weekend, say the organizers of EpCon, which promises to “bring together North America's leading tech gurus and 300 student tech enthusiasts from schools across Canada to discuss innovation and development of various technologies”.

High-tech executives who will speak on Friday and Saturday include Steven Woods, Waterloo site director for Google; Mike Lee, chief strategy officer for Rogers Ventures; Brantz Myers of Cisco; Peter Sweeney of Primal Fusion; and Neil Bunn of the “deep computing” unit at IBM.

[EpCon logo]“EpCon is officially sold out!” organizers were able to announce on Friday, though they’re keeping a waiting list. The two-day event is being held at “the beautiful Waterloo Inn and Conference Centre, located in the heart of the innovative and high-tech community of Waterloo, Ontario”.

EpCon is the flagship event of the EPIC Technology Organization, a news release explains, “and will feature interactive keynotes and seminars. Topics will include cloud computing, mobile development, gaming, social media and nanotechnology.

“EpCon will also feature the Elympics – three fun and different tech-themed competitions. Delegates will compete in games such as WikiTag and ‘spd txtng’ to challenge their inner techie. Prizes and bragging rights are being graciously funded by our sponsors.

“The conference will be brought to an end with ‘7-Ate-9’, a fun-filled banquet that runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday night. In addition to a delicious buffet, this meal has a fun casual setting where attendees can unwind, play videogames, and connect with EpCon speakers and other industry professionals.

The EPIC Technology Organization, which is putting on the conference, “was founded in 2009 by student leaders at Canada’s technology schools,” organizers say. “EPIC aims to be the top student network in Canada, bringing together students with a passion for all things tech.

“More than just an organization, EPIC is a platform that serves students interested in exploring technology and ideas.” Jaclyn Konzelmann, a fourth-year mechatronics engineering student at UW and EPIC’s president, explains: “We realized that we loved discussing technology and how it can be used to solve modern problems. Our meetings are always fun events where we watch the latest tech demos and discuss the newest tech startups.”

Says the conference news release: “EPIC hosts interactive events where industry and students meet to collaborate over innovation and developments in the tech world. The organization stands with the strong support of industry leaders. EPIC’s focus reaches beyond discussions into usability of technology to solve problems. One of EPIC’s current projects is ‘Up Up and Away!’, a toolkit introducing non-profit organizations to free software in order to assist their operations in becoming more cost-effective.

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[Corr]UW research executive takes Ontario job

Tom Corr (right), who came to UW three years ago to be associate vice-president (commercialization) in the UW research office and also chief executive officer of the Accelerator Centre, is moving on to a province-wide role.

He's been appointed president and chief executive officer of Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc., OCE announced on Thursday. OCE is the umbrella organization for research networks — in communications and information technology, earth and environmental technologies, energy, materials and manufacturing, and photonics — that include dozens of researchers at UW, in other universities and research hospitals, and in industry.

Corr is "regarded as one of Canada's foremost experts in bringing research to commercial success", OCE said in a news release.

“We are extremely pleased that Tom has decided to join Ontario Centres of Excellence at such an exciting time for innovation in the province,” said David J. McFadden, the chair of the agency's board of directors. “Tom knows what the innovation continuum is all about because he’s lived it. He is a successful entrepreneur who knows what it takes to drive new ideas from inception to commercial success. ”

McFadden said Corr "was chosen in part because of his unique background linking academia, industry and entrepreneurs which will serve him well as he takes on his new role at OCE. Corr’s relationships within the financial community with venture capitalists as well as his interaction with various levels of government made him a natural fit for the CEO role." Before coming to Waterloo, he was director of commercialization for information technology and communications at the University of Toronto.

“I sincerely believe I am joining OCE at the beginning of a new era,” Corr said, according to the announcement. “OCE is an incredible organization with an enviable track record of taking great ideas to commercial success. These are going to be very exciting times and OCE will play an integral role in the recently announced Ontario Network of Excellence. I look forward to working with all of OCE’s partners to further the role of innovation in the province and drive Ontario’s innovation agenda.”

"It's with great pleasure but also regret that we share the news of Tom's move," says George Dixon, UW's vice-president (university research). "With this experience in commercialization and work both at Waterloo and Toronto, he is ideally suited to lead OCE's support of research, talent development, and commercialization."

He's spent some of his time at UW over the past year working on a functional merger of the Accelerator Centre, the Waterloo office of OCE, and the Intellectual Property Management Group, formerly the “technology transfer office”, in UW’s office of research. The goal: “one-stop shopping for industry, entrepreneurs, researchers and students in the Waterloo Region” through a single unit, to be called the Accelerator for Commercialization Excellence.

Corr will move to the new position, at OCE headquarters in downtown Toronto, as of March 1.

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Jumping from one topic to another

Here’s a memo from the university secretariat: “Deep Saini’s term as Dean of Environment expires June 30, 2011, and, as required by Policy 45, The Dean of a Faculty, the process for constituting the nominating committee is under way. Nominations are requested for one staff member elected by and from the regular staff of the Faculty of Environment. At least three nominators are required in each case. Completed nomination forms should be submitted to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Friday, January 22, 2010. An election will follow if necessary.”

Registration starts today (and runs through Thursday) for a cornucopia of instructional programs under the Campus Recreation umbrella. Among them: aquatics, fitness, first aid, conditioning, dance, wellness, even golf lessons using the new high-tech simulator installed in a former handball court in the Physical Activities Complex. Other features of this term's program include "belly fit" classes, hockey skills practice, recreational broomball, private learn-to-swim lessons (including some for women only), "yoga for athletes", and something called Zumba. Details are online, of course, and registration runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the athletics office in the PAC.

A researcher at Cancer Care Ontario will come to UW as of March 1 as “program leader” for the Master of Public Health program and a faculty member in the department of health studies and gerontology. John Garcia “will follow the exemplary model set by the first Program Leader, Dr. Christina Mills, after her secondment from the Public Health Agency of Canada is complete later this spring,” says HSG department chair Paul McDonald. Garcia “is internationally recognized,” says McDonald, “for his work in chronic disease prevention and population health. Most recently, John has been the Director of the Population Health Unit, in the Department of Prevention and Screening at Cancer Care Ontario. He has more than 25 years experience in various public health, tobacco control, and chronic disease prevention roles.” The MPH program began in 2006 and uses distance education to serve the needs of 150 domestic and international students. Says McDonald: “An important aspect of Dr. Garcia’s new role will be to continue building excellence, capacity, and responsiveness for public health training, research and service. A cornerstone of this activity will be the ongoing development of partnerships between the University of Waterloo, fellow academic centres, and a wide array of policy makers, program providers, and other public health stakeholders.”

An exhibition of work by a UW fine arts student opened on Friday at the Waterloo Community Arts Centre, otherwise known as “the Button Factory”, on Regina Street. “This show is part of our collaborative program with the UW Fine Arts Department, with thanks to guest curator Emily Yau,” Button Factory manager Lauren Judge writes. As for the artist, “Nana Bediako was born in 1987 in Ghana, where he lived and schooled until he moved to Canada in 2004 to further his education. At his high school, Notre Dame Catholic School in Ajax, Ontario, he had the opportunity to hone his talent by participating in many youth art exhibitions and competitions where he earned numerous awards and constantly excelled. Currently in his third year at the University of Waterloo, Nana’s extraordinary prowess continually distinguishes him. Nana’s main sources of inspiration are the people around him, and his rich African heritage which brilliantly and proudly shines through his collections. The future of this prolifically artistic genius can only be imagined, as his limit is way beyond the sky. It should therefore not come as a surprise that this young artist has earned himself a well deserved alias: The promising son of Africa.” The show continues through January 29.

And . . . tickets are going fast, organizers say, for “the hottest ecological event of 2010” — a public discussion tomorrow night among “three of Canada's foremost ecollectuals”, namely Thomas Homer-Dixon of the Balsillie School, Robert Gibson of UW’s department of environment and resource studies, and S Stephen Bocking of Trent University. "Ecology will be the master science of the 21st century," is Homer-Dixon's unequivocal opinion. The others have some caveats about what role ecology should play in the second decade of the century. Tomorrow’s event starts at 7:30 (doors open 7:00) at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery on Caroline Street in central Waterloo. (“The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery invites you to visit their exhibits prior to the debate.” Tickets are $10 from the sponsor, the UW-published Alternatives Journal.


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Link of the day

Sir John A

When and where

Change of coverage period for student health and dental plan continues through January 22. Details.

Frost Week social events sponsored by Engineering Society, January 11-15. Details.

Senate graduate and research council 10:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Work term reports from fall term co-op jobs due today 4 p.m., Tatham Centre.

Philosophy colloquium: Nathan Ballantyne, University of Arizona, 4:00 p.m., Humanities room 373.

Cultural Encounters, Encountering Cultures series: Mat Schulze, Germanic and Slavic studies, “Cultural Encounter of the Language Kind” 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Embassy Church 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

On-campus recruitment information session organized by career services, Tuesday 11:30, or Thursday 1:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Details.

Senate undergraduate council Tuesday 12:00 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Canadian Institutes for Health Research grant-writing workshop Tuesday 2:30, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Alumni in Washington, DC: Engineering alumni reception at Transportation Research Board annual meeting, Tuesday 5:30 p.m., Marriott Wardmann Park Hotel. Details.

Waterloo Stratford Lecture: Kevin Harrigan, drama and speech communication, “Slot Machines: Are They Addictive” Tuesday 7:00, Stratford Public Library, 19 St. Andrew Street.

Housing information sessions about options for upper-year housing, January 12-21 in the residences. Details.

Application deadline for most Ontario high school students seeking university admission this fall is January 13. Details.

Flu vaccination clinic Thursday and Friday 10:00 to 4:30, Student Life Centre 2134-2135. Shots available for both H1N1 and seasonal flu. Vaccinations are also available 10:00 to 11:30 daily at Health Services. Details.

Election nomination deadline (Federation of Students executive, students’ council, student positions on UW senate) Thursday 4:00 p.m. Details.

‘Global Warring’: Cleo Paskal speaks on “How Environmental, Economic and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map”, sponsored by UW bookstore, Thursday 7:00, CIGI, 57 Erb Street West. Registration online.

Open class enrolment ends January 15 (online courses, January 8); drop, no penalty period ends January 22 (last day to withdraw with 100 per cent fee refund). Last day to register and pay fees, January 29.

Co-op job postings for spring term job begin January 16 on JobMine.

‘Bridging the Gap to Retirement’ workshop presented by Employee Assistance Program, January 19, 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Grade 10 Family Night information session for parents and students about the university admission process, sponsored by Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment office, January 19, 6:30, Theatre of the Arts. Details.

Blood donor clinic January 21 (10:00 to 4:00) and January 22 (9:00 to 3:00), Student Life Centre. Appointments 1-888-236-6283.

Payday for faculty and monthly-paid staff Friday, January 22.

Job Fair sponsored by UW and other post-secondary institutions, Wednesday, February 3, 10:00 to 3:30, RIM Park, Waterloo. Details.

FASS 2010 (“Final Fassity MMV”) performances Thursday, February 4, 8:00; Friday, 7:00 and 10:00; Saturday 8:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Family Day holiday Monday, February 15; UW offices and most services closed.

Reading Week February 15-19; classes not held.

Friday's Daily Bulletin